What is the Google Fiber 4K streaming TV box? We take a closer look at the upcoming Fiber 4K set-top box from Google, set to take on Amazon’s Fire TV, Roku and other streamers with full support for 4K HDR content. Here’s all of the new features, plus how the Fiber streamer compares with Google’s current DVR box and a key question: Will Google Fiber and the Fiber 4K box ever come to the UK?
Google is no stranger to the world of Ultra HD video streaming, having already released its immensely popular and capable 4K Chromecast Ultra streaming device. But in 2017, Google is reportedly working on a 4K and HDR set-top box which will blow the Chromecast – and rivals such as the mighty Fire TV – out of the streaming waters.
In the US, where Google Fiber internet is growing fast, there’s talk of offering an upgrade over the current DVR set-top box that Google provides. This new box will more effectively let users take full advantage of the super-fast internet service, for streaming high-def TV over their Wi-Fi connection.
So what do we know so far about Google’s new wonder box and what will it be able to do that’ll make us all start throwing money at the screen? A recent 9to5Google report reveals plenty of details.
Google Fiber powers the new 4K HDR set-top box
Google Fiber is a super-fast fibre optic internet service available in certain areas of the US. The service offers up to a whopping 1Gbps peak service which, in terms of speed, blows most others out of the water. You could, technically, download a complete Full HD movie in the time it takes you to scratch your bum.
That’s some seriously impressive speed and capacity, so it makes sense for Google to offer a new set-top box for its television service. The current DVR box can record up to eight shows at once but doesn’t offer 4K and HDR streaming support – something that Google’s connection has capacity to deliver.
The Google Fiber set-top box will be 4K and HDR enabled
The new Google 4K set-top box should not only offer full 4K resolution streaming but also support High Dynamic Range.
Specifically this means watching YouTube will allow for a 3840 x 2160 resolution images with enhanced colours and contrast. Expect other streaming services that offer these levels of quality to also be available: Netflix, Amazon Prime and so on.
The new Google Fiber 4K set-top box has Wi-Fi support, and it’s a strong offering
Google’s original Fiber set-top DVR box did not have Wi-Fi support built in, for some ridiculous reason. Crazy, we know. But reassuringly that has been changed for the new 4K HDR Fiber streaming box.
Despite being capable of airing higher quality video, the new box will now connect to your router via Wi-Fi to receive that data. Great news for those that don’t want cables hanging all over the place. And of course there’ll be support for 5GHz bands too, an essential feature considering how much data you’ll be beaming across your household.
Are Google Fiber and the 4K HDR streaming box ever coming to the UK?
Don’t hold your breath for a UK rollout of Google Fiber any time soon, sadly. In the US the rollout has been scaled back for the coming year, with some key cities such as Chicago scrapped entirely from Google’s plans. This scheme has cost Google quite a bit of cash, which likely means the company will think carefully before expanding abroad.
Plus here in the UK we have the issue of BT’s chokehold on the infrastructure. Google apparently did enter talks in the past with BT, confirming that it had plans to bring its Fiber service to British shores. However, these talks subsequently ended and have not resumed.
However, now that we can see Google’s investment in the area of Fiber broadband and streaming through this new 4K HDR box, perhaps not all is lost. Perhaps Google is simply refining its offering before continuing the roll-out country-wide and, hopefully, internationally.